Jane Doe
Germany
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There comes a time in many gamers' lives where they begin to have certain... desires. At first it starts with a fleeting thought - "you know, there's an awful lot of those 'wargames'...". But the thought returns, again and again, and a certain curiousity is awakened. "I think I'd like to, you know, maybe try something like that. Just to see what it feels like. Maybe just hold some of those counters.". From there, it gets worse. Many try to resist it. A few brave souls manage to resist the siren call of cardboard and paper, the haunting promises of depths that no Euro games would ever offer. But, for most of us, there eventually comes a time to make a choice. This is the story of one such choice.

I have been playing board games for years, usually sticking with lighter fare and a handful of somewhat more involved Euro games. But until I found BGG, I had no idea just how involved the hobby could be, and how large the faction of grognards was. So eventually I decided that, despite all the little quirks of wargaming like huge folders full of rules, plexiglass on the gaming table and clipped counters, it was too interesting a genre to ignore. After a couple of days of careful browsing and getting suggestions from helpful people, I finally settled on a couple of games to start out with, and decided that FC:A may as well be the first of them I try. Well, tonight I got around to it. So here's a review of what I have been able to see so far. It is nowhere near as complete as a "proper" review, but I felt that perhaps a grognard-in-training's impression might be valuable for others who, like me, are cautiously trying to see if wargames are for them or not.

The unboxing was a pleasant experience already: a handy player log, a counter sheet, a comfortably thin rulebook and then... wow! I knew to expect mounted maps, but I was figuring it would be something less fancy. All the boards are indeed mounted on sturdy cardboard, and finished very nicely both on the playing surface and the back. The counters, too, have a nice shiny finish to them, so that they feel very pleasant to manipulate. Wargames can look this nice? I was impressed!

After some very careful punching and subsequent sorting - which taught me why counter trays are so very useful - I proceeded to read through the rules in order to get ready for my first game. I quickly discovered that the way the rules are written, it is pretty easy to read them along with your first actual setup, without having to page further into the rulebook too frequently. The rules, combined with the handy charts on the maps themselves, make it pretty easy to set up a game quickly. And so I dove right in, not really knowing yet what to expect. Clearly Alexander himself would have had a better idea, but since I could not expect to be tutored by Aristotle in this particular space-time-continuum, I did the next best thing: learning by doing.

The first game went haltingly - I found a few questions popping up here and there, so the rulebook was used frequently to double-check whether I had the right intuition about how to handle certain things (yes, Alexander himself is a force; yes, my Cavalry unit always inflicts two hits at a time). After the first battle, however, I had a pretty good grasp of the fundamentals already, and the things I most frequently looked up after that involved clarifications on how to handle a particular battle plan, prophecy or insight. Alas, my overconfidence brought Alexander to an early death in Granicus. Still - this was already it, rules-wise? Apparently so! Looks like wargames can have sufficient depth without overcomplicating the gameplay.

The next attempt went more quickly, and although I made a mistake at first (I applied the battle advisor's power to all my forces, not just Alexander), I seemed to be doing things the right way already. This time, Alexander perished while hastily assaulting Halicarnassus, fearing a deployment of six forces from the enemy operations any day. On the third game, however, I finally found success. I was beginning to understand the importance of gold for continuous movement and learning not to underestimate enemy forces. I had a close call at Granicus due to some unexpected enemy reinforcements, but made good progress after that, winning the campaign on turn 4.

I am planning to play the remaining campaigns seperately first, and then embark on a nice long linked campaign game. I think with all the modifiers available for each campaign, as well as the random garrisons and operations, I should be getting lots of replay value out of this title.

So, what has FC:A done to my wargaming intentions? I'm hungering for more, and I am glad I picked this as an introductory title! The rules could use some clarification in places, perhaps, but overall, the high production values as well as the very accessible gameplay make this a great starter, in my opinion. I'll certainly recommend it to people curious about wargames - it provides a fun first contact with counters and teaches what appear to be some basic mechanics common to many wargames, like pulling chits from a cup and flipping counters over for damage.
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Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Your first paragraph sums up my feelings exactly!

I started with Memoir '44, moved to Commands & Colors: Ancients and now have Combat Commander: Europe set up on my game table, playing solo. I have Field Commander: Alexander but haven't tried it yet; your review has made me want to find time to give it a go.

Thanks, Jane, and welcome to the dark side. devil
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Gordon Adams
United Kingdom
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My hero (Alexander the Great): I buy all games relating to him. But, being mostly a wargamer, I think this particular game is an excellent introduction to wargaming.

Good for you, Jane. Great to hear you are willing to expand your wargaming experience. You deserve a GG and I give you one.

Regards.
 
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Steve Herron
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Johnson City
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I have The Conquerors: Alexander the Great and think it is an average game. I have been thinking of getting the Field Commander one. Welcome to wargaming watch out it is addictive.
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Terry Coleman
Canada
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I had been thinking about picking this up. Thanks so much for your candid and witty review - it was lots of fun to read.

For other games you might like...Someone mentioned Memoir 44, which is fun. You might also like Warriors of God from MMP, which is about the Hundred Years War...Henry V, Joan of Arc and so forth. Simple rules and a lot of fun to play.

Anyway, I'll echo the other comments welcoming you to the wargaming side. You'll find that the good ones are just as addicitive as the best Euros. But it sounds like you might know that already

Cheers,
Terry
 
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Bob
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Welcome the world of wargaming Jane! thumbsup

As others have mentioned, it can be an addictive hobby, even for the strongest among us... whistle

There's a forthcoming game in the Field Commander Series called Field Commander: Napoleon. Here's hoping this one is as good as the others.

Board Game: Field Commander: Napoleon


Game On! meeple
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Ashitaka wrote:


Board Game: Field Commander: Napoleon


Game On! meeple
Apologies for the temp box cover. We are working very hard to get the art updated.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Caution: May contain wargame like substance
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Herzlich wilkommen!
 
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Dan Verssen
United States
Glendora
California
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Thank you for posting this review!

Very nicely written. I'll add a link to it on our DVG web site.
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Dan Verssen
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Glendora
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Wan,

Did you see that your Alexander maps made the geek list for "purdy maps"?

Congrats!
 
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Fritz Mulnar
Germany
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and you didnot even clip your counters yet!

so much fun ahead of you.

and cc:e and a grand sale at gmt sucked me in.

now i have an extra shelf for carddriven wargames. modest
 
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chooche wrote:
Ashitaka wrote:


Board Game: Field Commander: Napoleon


Game On! meeple
Apologies for the temp box cover. We are working very hard to get the art updated.
I sure hope this will be as nice as Alexander. A recent podcast seemed to indicate it will be "beefy." Don't rush it Dan, but get it out as soon as you can.
 
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Wulf Corbett
Scotland
Shotts
Lanarkshire
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Riptcord wrote:
I sure hope this will be as nice as Alexander. A recent podcast seemed to indicate it will be "beefy."
Judging by the promised number of maps it'll be heavy... surprise
 
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